€1bn Smart Meter Project in Jeopardy (Ireland) – UK Sunday Times

IRELAND – THE future of a €1bn project to install electricity and gas smart meters in all homes and most businesses by 2020 could be in doubt after a recent cost-benefit analysis indicated savings, if any, would be minimal.

The report commissioned by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) — which is overseeing the planned rollout of the National Smart Metering Programme to more than 2m households — said the results were “marginally negative”.

It estimated that the project would result in the net loss of €54m in the most likely scenario. However, consultancy firm PwC, which carried out the analysis, said its findings should be interpreted as “broadly neutral” given the overall scale of the project and the significant uncertainty about many of the main cost assumptions.

But the latest results will come as a disappointment to the CER as a similar earlier study was largely positive about the combined benefit of smart meters for electricity and gas over a 20-year period. The updated review suggests the cost of the project could outweigh any benefit in all but the most optimistic scenario. The net losses could even be as high as €140m, according to the report.

The figures will also cause some unease for the government which has faced a barrage of criticism over the cost and implementation of the programme for water meters and which will be anxious to avoid a similar controversy in future.

Although there will be no upfront costs for consumers to have smart meters fitted in their homes, a CER spokesman said it was anticipated that the cost would be incorporated in distribution charges set by electricity and gas suppliers.

The energy regulator claims smart meters will result in cheaper energy bills for electricity and gas, more information on energy consumption and greater customer choice as well as reducing Ireland’s CO2 emissions and creating greater efficiencies for utility companies. The programme is designed to reduce electricity and gas consumption during the peak period of 5pm-7pm by encouraging consumers to avail of lower tariffs at other periods.

The recent cost-benefit analysis estimated the average residential household would achieve savings of €16.20 on their annual electricity bill and €18.52 on their gas bill. The CER stated further savings would be derived from electricity and gas suppliers not having to visit homes to read meters which should also be passed on to consumers.

The national rollout of smart meters had been originally scheduled to begin in 2015 but is unlikely to commence before 2018.

It is estimated it will be 2021 before all homes are fitted with smart meters.

A CER spokesman said the programme would proceed to its third stage which would involve a further cost-benefit analysis scheduled for autumn 2016 before any final decision is made with regard to smart metering.

A spokesman for the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources said it was not in a position to comment on the latest figures for the smart metering project.

A spokesman for ESB Networks also declined to comment.

Seán McCárthaigh, The Sunday Times

Source: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/ireland/News/article1473011.ece

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Take Back Your Power screening, 30 October, Bentleigh

Take Back Your Power - Post

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Launch of People Power Victoria – No Smart Meters

People Power Victoria – No Smart Meters Party (PPV) was launched on 11 October 2014.

Launch highlights can be seen at:  PPV Launch

PPV requires volunteer and financial support to help it contest the forthcoming State election on November 29, 2014.  If you would like to support PPV please go to the PPV Help

 

 

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Manual meter reading fees

The Australian Energy Regulator has published the submissions it received on the proposed manual meter reading fee to come into effect in April 2015. As well as the submissions from the five power distributors on what they would like to be allowed to charge customers who have refused a smart meter, there are 13 submissions from individuals/groups and one submission from Energy minister, Russell Northe.

The submissions from individuals and groups are spirited and well thought through.  Minister Northe’s submission is confusing at times, as he commences with scathing criticism of cost blow-outs by some of the distributors and then, on page 14, voices concern that AusNet Services is not proposing to charge customers for a manual meter read.  Minister Northe urges power distributors that “it is important that customers are suitably incentivised to accept the installation of a smart meter”.  (Take away the positive spin and you’ve got, “it is important that customers are suitably penalised for refusing the installation of a smart meter”.)

AER will make a decision on the proposed manual meter reading charges by 31 October, 2014.

To read the submissions from all parties click on any of the distributors listed below and then click on ‘Proposal’ near the bottom of the new screen.

AusNet Services

CitiPower

Jemena

Powercor

United Energy

 

 

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Smart meters can be hacked!

In two recent international reports it is claimed that the smart meters being installed can be hacked to achieve various goals.  Aims of hackers could range from under-reporting a property’s bill, fooling the system into billing one property for the neighbouring property’s electricity consumption, shutting down a smart meter, or shutting down the electricity to an entire city.

As one report states, the consumer is legally helpless to do anything about their meter being hacked because the power distributors have exclusive rights to install, service and remove the meter.  Customers are at the mercy of the power distributors having the motivation to investigate alleged hacking.

And since the smart meter is located some distance from the power distributor’s site, for all their talk about being able to remotely fix supply problems, it seems that fixing hacking from a distance is not necessarily something that the distributors can brag is in their skill set.

‘Security flaw found in mandatory smart meters’, Consumer Affairs

‘Smart meters can be hacked to cut power bills’, BBC news

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Smart Meter Update Meetings in Northern Suburbs of Melbourne

Northern Metro Meetings

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A smart meter cost blowout threatens to add up to $520 more to many power bills – Herald Sun

Electricity giant AusNet Services plans to ask for a forecast $350 million extra from hundreds of thousands of customers over the next 15 years.

It overspent $70 million last year, and wants to pass on most of it. And it forecasts a further $280 million blowout by the end of next year.

It has applied to increase next year’s charges for the most common smart meter to $208.87 plus GST — $51.27 more than had been approved.

It blames the cost blowout on a public revolt against meter installations, government reviews that delayed the rollout, and major information technology system faults.
AusNet Services covers 670,000 customers in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and the state’s east and northeast.

The smart meter rollout, ordered by the Labor government and continued by the Coalition after a review, is already costing Victorian households and small businesses a total of about $2.4 billion.

The Australian Energy Regulator, which allows excess expenditure claims to be passed on to consumers only if costs are “prudent and efficient”, has rejected previous technology cost-recovery attempts from AusNet Services.

The Consumer Action Law Centre said that unreasonable cash grabs had to be resisted.
“This company seems to have continual blowouts in expenditure, and expects consumers to foot the bill,” spokesman Gerard Brody said.

Jemena’s proposed smart meter charge for next year is $231.28, $11.38 more than previously approved. United Energy wants to charge $160.44, down $4.58 on previous plans.

Proposals for a $115.49 CitiPower and $108.96 Powercor fee are lower than forecast.
The regulator is reviewing the company’s requests.

Documents submitted to the regulator reveal United Energy overspent $53.5 million last year, and Jemena $25.7 million. But they said their total project costs and charges remained close to budget because of earlier lower-than-expected spending.

Karen Collier, Herald Sun

Via: A smart meter cost blowout threatens to add up to $520 more to many power bills

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